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On Chess: Coaching shakeup at Lindenwood

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 5, 2012 - There have been some exciting developments in the St. Louis chess scene over the past year. In January, Lindenwood University announced plans to develop a world-class collegiate chess program. That same week, Susan Polgar announced she was moving her national champion chess program from Texas Tech University in Lubbock to Webster University.

Only a handful of schools across the country offers chess scholarships, and now that two schools in the St. Louis region are offering these educational opportunities, the sport will continue to grow and thrive here.

Lindenwood’s recruitment netted 14 students including two international masters (IMs), Priyadharshan Kannappan of India and Levan Bregadze of The Republic of Georgia, a Woman’s Grandmaster (WGM) Anna Sharevich of Belarus, and a Woman’s International Master (WIM), Carla Heredia Serrano from Ecuador. This represents a fantastic recruiting class for the program’s inaugural year, and the team is projected to grow to up to 30 students by the fall of 2013.

Incoming students were expecting to be coached by the Chess Club’s Resident Grandmaster Ben Finegold, but when he tendered his resignation, the search was on for a suitable replacement. Enter Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan.

Seirawan is a four-time U.S. Champion, a former world championship contender and one of the most respected names in the history of U.S. chess. After winning the World Junior Championship in 1979, Seirawan went on to dominate the U.S. chess scene in the 1980s, capturing the U.S. title in 1981, 1986 and 1989.

Seirawan recently accepted a position as the acting resident grandmaster at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, and he will serve as the head coach for Lindenwood’s new collegiate chess program. He is widely recognized as one of the best instructors in the world, and he will offer invaluable insight and guidance to both the incoming chess players and Lindenwood’s quickly developing program.

To read Seirawan’s bio, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org/staff.

Matt Barrett is the assistant coach for the Lindenwood University chess program.

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